Two guilty of murdering footballer Cody Fisher in Crane nightclub stabbing

Two men have been found guilty of murdering a footballer who was stabbed to death on the dance floor of a nightclub over a petty incident two days earlier.

Cody Fisher, 23, was attacked by a masked group at the Crane club in Birmingham, with more than 2,000 people inside, on 26 December 2022.

It was in revenge after he had brushed past Remy Gordon, 23, in a busy bar.

Gordon and Kami Carpenter, 22, were convicted of murder on Monday.

Mr Fisher's mother Tracey described the pair as "evil".

The weapon - a six-inch long blade, serrated on both sides - was left buried in her son's chest. It had been smuggled into the club, the court heard, with prosecutors describing cursory security checks on the night.

As well as being a semi-professional footballer, Mr Fisher had taught PE in schools and his mother said he had loved teaching young children.

"He had more living to do and so much more love and kindness to give to the world," she said.

A third defendant Reegan Anderson, 19, was found not guilty of murder after the 10-week trial.

The court heard Mr Fisher made "unavoidable" contact with Gordon in a trivial incident at Popworld, in Solihull on Christmas Eve, which led to him trying to track him down.

Prosecutor Michael Duck KC told jurors there was "no doubt" Gordon was looking for trouble and wanted Mr Fisher to apologise and "seek his forgiveness".

But he was not going to apologise because he had done nothing wrong, he said.

Less than an hour after the encounter that night in Popworld, Gordon sent messages in a Snapchat group he was in with several friends appealing for help to identify Mr Fisher and threatened to "shank him up".

"Who knows this likkle pip squeeze [sic]?" he posted with a photograph and arrow pointing to Mr Fisher, along with comments of "man think he's bad" and "posh yout".

Mr Duck said Gordon, of Cofton Park Drive, Birmingham, was "set on retribution" and that "ultimately was to lead to the loss of Cody Fisher's young life in the Crane nightclub".

Jurors were told of other messages in the defendants' Snapchat group in the days before the Crane event in which Gordon and Carpenter talked about whether masks could be worn and if weapons could be taken inside the club.

Mr Fisher, a former Birmingham City FC academy member who had also played for a number of non-league Midlands clubs, including Bromsgrove Sporting and Stratford Town, had gone to the Digbeth nightclub with his girlfriend, best friend Dan Vann and others to see a DJ they liked.

Sam Newey, a close friend of Mr Fisher, who had met Gordon some six months earlier, told jurors how he had tried to persuade Mr Fisher to leave Crane, after seeing Gordon and several others wearing ski masks and balaclavas several hours before the attack.

He said Gordon had asked him "is your boy Cody here?" and he replied he was not. However, Mr Newey said he became concerned "we were going to be outnumbered and obviously potentially get hurt".

Shortly after 23:30 GMT, up to 10 men approached Mr Fisher who was standing with his girlfriend Jess Chatwin and best friend Dan Vann.

Mr Vann told the court the "large crowd" with masks "up to their noses" asked Mr Fisher to go outside before one headbutted him, knocking "his head backwards" before punches were then thrown.

He then fell to the floor after being stabbed in the chest and leg. CPR was administered by security staff, but the blade had penetrated the main valve to his heart, a post-mortem examination later showed.

His killers left the event, but just 45 minutes later, CCTV showed Gordon "mocking and smiling" about the stabbing, the court heard.

He went to a pizza takeaway where he was seen on cameras smiling as he made a kicking motion "and repeating what had taken place".

Carpenter, who left the club in his Audi with a friend, admitted to him he had stabbed an individual in the chest and left the weapon at the scene, the jury heard.

He arrived there in different clothes and bought a pizza an hour after the murder.

The group Snapchat also contained messages from their associates saying the club had been taped off and "man says he's dead" with another replying "he is" and "Ah, good he's deffo dead".

Mr Newey had also told jurors how Gordon had rung him after the stabbing and said during a nine-minute call: "Literally instantly, the first thing he said was 'I am not going to lie, I have just banged both your boys out.'"

He said Gordon, of Cofton Park Drive, Birmingham, told him he had "just wrapped up Cody and wrapped up Dan, knocked 'em both clean out'....they are not awake'."

The case was brought as a joint enterprise prosecution where more than one person can be prosecuted for a murder if they were involved and had foreseen that Mr Fisher might be killed or seriously hurt.

Analysis - Midlands correspondent Phil Mackie:

It's hard to think of something more innocuous. Everyone will have, at some point, gently moved someone out of the way when leaving a crowded venue. In Cody Fisher's case it cost him his life.

It's impossible to say whether Gordon or Carpenter smuggled in the zombie knife and which one killed Cody, because they blamed each other when giving evidence. But it's clear both knew that there was a plan to take revenge on the 23-year-old for that trivial push.

In court, the pair seemed to accept the verdicts but as Gordon's family left court they were screaming and shouting so loudly it was hard to hear the jury foreman deliver the other verdicts.

Tracey Fisher, her brother and his wife sat in another room within the court buildings and were able to see and hear the verdicts on a remote video link.

It's likely the family will have more to say following sentence

In court Gordon blamed Carpenter for the stabbing and Carpenter blamed him. Anderson said he had no idea anyone had a knife.

Gordon and Anderson, from Erdington, were also convicted of affray - a charge relating to fighting in public - in relation to an attack on Mr Vann, following Mr Fisher's stabbing.

Carpenter, of Owens Croft, Kings Norton, who was found guilty of murder by a majority of 10 to one, was cleared of affray.

Giving evidence, Gordon said he only found out about a stabbing when Carpenter confessed to him in the pizza shop.

He said he did not know he had brought a knife into the Crane and had not encouraged others to assault Mr Fisher, nor had he seen a weapon inside the club.

He admitted a confrontation occurred with Mr Fisher as he crossed the dance floor to leave, but said his messages about "shanking" him were "just a figure of speech" and had not intended him serious harm.

Carpenter told jurors that Gordon had "manufactured" lies to disguise his own involvement in the stabbing.

Tracey Fisher, Cody's mother
Tracey Fisher, Cody's mother, said her son's killers were "evil and inhumane"

He said he had only changed his clothes because they were wet and smelled of alcohol and body odour, but agreed with the prosecution's suggestion that the knife used to kill Mr Fisher must have been taken past nightclub security checks.

Det Insp Michelle Thurgood, West Midlands Police senior investigating officer with the homicide team, said although there were no clear images of who administered the fatal injury to Mr Fisher, the Crown's case was that Carpenter was the person responsible.

Flight booked

"But our case is very much that Remy Gordon is as equally culpable as Kami Carpenter when you look at joint enterprise, because if it hadn't been for the incident with him, if it hadn't been for him being adamant that he was going to identify Cody Fisher and seek some sort of retribution to Cody Fisher, then Cody Fisher would be alive today," she said.

She said Carpenter was intending to leave the country and had booked a flight to Jamaica right after the stabbing but was arrested before he left.

Anderson, who was in the Snapchat group and party to all the conversations, was seen "running towards" Mr Fisher as part of the attack at Crane and was "an aggressor" in the affray on Mr Vann she said.

She added the killing was "an absolute tragedy" but was nothing to do with gangs or street crime.

Det Insp Michelle Thurgood, West Midlands Police senior investigating officer
Det Insp Michelle Thurgood, a senior investigating officer with West Midlands Police, said Mr Fisher's death in the circumstances was "difficult to comprehend"

"We've probably all been in that situation where we push someone or someone's pushed us, and you don't give it a second thought. You either apologise or you don't, and that's the end of it," she said.

"The thought that somebody was so affronted by that, that a young man loses his life is difficult to comprehend."

The nightclub had its licence revoked by the city council in the months after the killing after safety and drug fears were raised by the force.

Mr Fisher's brother Stephen said his death had "ruined the family".

"We all kind of lived and done our best for Cody and now he's no longer here, it's hard to come to terms with what to do," he said.

Mrs Fisher added: "So you can bump into somebody in a pub or a club or whatever accidentally and that is the repercussion to be that evil, for that retribution of within half an hour trying to find out, getting Cody's picture from social media, speaking to whoever and asking the question who is Cody Fisher?

"I'm sure that's a question that they'll never ever need to ask again because they will know that forever, for as long as they shall live I suppose."

Thanking the jury, His Honour Judge Paul Farrer KC said none of them would have to take part in jury service again for 20 years.

The men are expected to be sentenced at the same court on 8 April.

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